Shujaa star Onyala wants current young squad maintained

Shujaa star Onyala wants current young squad maintained

Brian Mutugi (L) congratulates teammate Vincent Onyala after scoring a try in their 41-0 win over Mexico at the HSBC Challenger 2024 in Dubai on Friday 12th January, 2024. Photo courtesy of World Rugby - art by Mike Lee.

National rugby sevens team co-captain Vincent Onyala has urged the technical bench to maintain the core team of young players that secured promotion back to the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

Onyala, who starred alongside co-captain Tony Omondi in all Challenger Series legs as well as the final shootout in Madrid, says it is important for the team to keep the young crop of players who performed exemplary well immediately after the team got relegated from the Sevens Series last year.

“Cohesion in the team now I think it’s a new generation, it’s rebuilding and you find that it requires different dynamics to incorporate each and every one; not to be a pain in the neck to the other person to hinder them from performing,” said Onyala.

“You find the young generation we are dealing with whenever you shout, they sort of get into their cocoon and switch off and we don’t want that for them, we want them to sort of feel included in the team for them to take the agenda of the team forward,” he added.

Co-captain Omondi said discipline within the squad was paramount, as it also kept the boys grounded and ready for every challenge.

“For me it goes back to being disciplined, you have to be disciplined to play this game, there is no two ways about it and prioritizing that over anything else matters a lot to us,” noted Onyala.

“That’s the first thing we talked about when Vincent and I were named co-captains, we know it’s a tricky sport, it’s a very unforgiving sport and once you’re disciplined enough, I believe it prepares you for the world out there, so discipline first then you can play the game.”

Omondi added that it was important for them to ensure Kenya returns to the HSBC World Series, as it offers a myriad of opportunities for local rugby players.

“It was very crucial for us going back first of all, because personally I have been playing rugby since I was in Form One. I used to watch the likes of Collins Injera, Biko Adema, Lavine Asego playing in the series hoping that one day I will be there. That for me sold the idea that I needed to work extra hard to go back to the series for someone like me,” said Omondi.

The young team has within one year won the Africa 7s Cup, which saw them also qualify for the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, won the Safari 7s title as well as secure promotion to the most coveted 7s series in the World. 


Vincent Onyala HSBC Tony Omondi Challenger Series

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